Joshua Pacio Out To Prove He Deserves The Belt Against Rene Catalan
Three months after the biggest martial arts event in Manila, ONE Championship returns to the Philippines’ capital for yet again stacked card. Headlined an all-Filipino showdown between the defending champion Joshua Pacio and Rene Catalan, for the ONE Strawweight World Title.
Speaking to ONE Championship, the 23-year old champion gave his thoughts about the upcoming match up of youth versus experience, for the coveted belt.
“I’m happy with this match-up. It only goes to show how mixed martial arts in the Philippines continues to grow. For me, it’s a big privilege to be a part of this historic face-off, as two Filipinos meet each other for the World Title – and it’s against a decorated veteran. I’m also happy to fight here in the Philippines again,” Pacio stated.
With regards to his opponent, the “Passion” has nothing but praise for Catalan, a former Philippine national athlete, who represented his country in various international competitions.
“I think we’re evenly matched. Kuya Rene’s Sanda background is his bread and butter, while he has also improved a lot in his wrestling and grappling.”
Pacio was impressed with how Catalan dismantled the former division title holder Yoshitaka Naito, defeating him decisively.
“I was impressed with what he did with Naito. He stopped his takedowns and won via stoppage. We’ve seen how he’s improved, and he’s on a six-fight winning streak. He’s certainly [a worthy challenger],” admitted Joshua.
However, Pacio pointed out that there is no bad blood between him and Rene Catalan, or even their stables of Team Lakay and Catalan Fighting System (CFS), as both parties respect each other.
“I’ve been reading comments about how sad it is being a Pinoy versus Pinoy match, but this is just sports. In the end, you can expect respect between us, I respect Rene Catalan. [CFS] are the pioneers. They represented the country countless times. They were already there when I hadn’t even learned how to punch.”
Joshua reiterated that it’s all about the nature of combat sports and it is not personal to him, stating that it is his duty to defend his championship against anyone who attempts to claim it.
“But, this is mixed martial arts and I have to prove that I deserve the belt, so I’ll do everything to retain my World Title. I’m really happy to be given a chance to defend this belt.”
The young Igorot warrior also knows the feeling of losing his precious belt and is in no mood to repeat that experience again.
“The last time, I wasn’t so fortunate and I lost it. This time I will do everything to successfully defend it and to enter 2020 with strong momentum,” recalled Pacio.
He also claims that his camp went on another level to prepare him for this showdown with the hot-streaking Catalan, who rides a six-fight winning streak.
“I’ve really stepped-up on my training for this match, and I’ll make sure to show it on 8 November, and make sure I go home still a World Champion.”
Pacio vowed to parade the best version of himself against Catalan.
“One thing is for sure, this is the best you’ll see of me. An upgrade, a real confident athlete who believes in himself.”
Joshua Pacio defends his ONE strawweight title against Rene Catalan in the main event of ONE: Masters Of Fate, which goes down on November 8th at the Mall Of Asia Arena, in Manila, Philippines.